John Tortorella claims he doesn’t worry about his players possibly being distracted in these final days and hours leading up to Friday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.
The Flyers coach bases that opinion on past experience. In general, players know this is a business and there’s really nothing they can do now to change their destiny.
“I think everybody dances around everything around here,” Tortorella said prior to the morning skate at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. on Wednesday. “We’re grown men. This is a situation we’re in, to honest about it, and let’s handle it the right way as pros.
“I don’t think it’s anything earth-shattering. It’s just the proper way to do it.”
Tortorella made it a point to say he’s not holding anyone out of the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the New York Rangers in deference to the upcoming deadline, as some teams are prone to do.
Which means that likely trade candidates such as James van Riemsdyk were set to play.
>York back in action
After giving young defenseman Cam York the night off for last Saturday night’s 7-0 loss at the New Jersey Devils, Tortorella said York would play against the Rangers.
The coach disclosed he’s noticed a dip in York’s game and didn’t want the struggles to sort of pile up.
“His game has dipped,” the coach said. “A lot of ice time, played on the right side (he’s a natural left shooter). . .so it’s an ever-flowing process with him. I just felt he needed a night off because I don’t want it to mount up on him.
“He’s an important guy that we’re trying to develop the proper way. He wasn’t taken out just to be given a rest. He has struggled a little bit. A night off sometimes helps.”
>While other teams improve. . .
While a number of playoff-bound teams in the Metropolitan Division are adding players to their rosters – such as Patrick Kane with the New York Rangers – the Flyers are in no position to be “buyers.”
It has to be unsettling for Flyers players to be watching this development, right? They’re headed for a third straight year out of the playoffs.
“They’re watching and seeing teams gearing up for it,” Tortorella said. “It’s hard for them. You start in camp and you go through the grind. (Now) You’re on the outside looking in with another five or six weeks left to play. It’s hard for them.
“Hopefully, we go through this process the proper way, we’ll get there. We’ll be one of those teams looking to add.”
>Bigger role for Tippett
With leading scorer Travis Konecny sidelined for at least the next few weeks and possibly the season, a considerable amount of offensive responsibility could fall on right wing Owen Tippett, whose 17 goals are tied for second on the team.
“I look for that and that part of his game,’’ Tortorella said. “But it gives him a chance to show he can kill a penalty. We’re trying him there. It’s a constant process with ‘Tipp,’ teaching him situational play.
“The way I look at it, he gets more minutes in offensive situations now. But it’s also developing him in the other parts of the game. I’m not going to let up on that because the games are kind of meaningless with where we go with it. It’s still National Hockey League games to develop your kids. He still has some work to do a way from the puck.”
>Big rivalry with Rangers
Tony DeAngelo, a former member of the Rangers now in his first year with the Flyers, says he’s had a look from both sides of the rivalry and enjoys the competition.
“This is a good one,” the South Jersey native said. “I’ve been on the other side of it (in New York). From a fan’s perspective, I was always on this side of it. I hated the Rangers and then I had to go to the Rangers.
“Now I’m back to where I wanted to be. It’s been a big rivalry, an even bigger rivalry personally. They booed me in New York, they boo me here. It’s always a fun game to play against them. They’ve been on the winning side of these matchups a lot lately so I think it’s time for us to start turning the tide.”
>Bellows, Lycksell scratched
Tortorella said he intended to go back to a seven-defensemen alignment for the Rangers game.
With that in mind, forwards Olle Lycksell and Kieffer Bellows were scheduled to be healthy scratches.
Carter Hart was scheduled to start in goal for the Flyers.